By Arul Louis
New York, Aug 22 (IANS) Defence and diplomatic officials from India and the US are to have two meetings this week aimed at strengthening strategic cooperation and building on the shared vision for the Indo-Pacific region, according to the State Department.
On Thursday, Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells and Assistant Secretary of Defence for Indo-Pacific Affairs Randall Schriver are to meet with their Indian counterparts at Monterey, California, for an Intersessional Meeting of the US-India 2+2 Dialogue of defence and foreign affairs officials.
“During the Intersessional, the two sides will discuss ways to advance cooperation on critical diplomatic and security priorities, including our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific region, and review preparations for the next 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue,” the department said on Wednesday.
The first 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue of the foreign affairs and defence cabinet officials of the two countries took place in India last year with the participation of the late Sushma Swaraj, who was the External Affairs Minister, Nirmala Seetharaman, the then-Defence Minister, from the India side and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former Defence Secretary Jim Mattis representing the US.
The next dialogue at the cabinet-level is expected to take place in the US.
On Friday, the two US officials are to hold the fourth US-India Maritime Security Dialogue, with Indian officials. At the meeting, “the two sides will exchange views on maritime developments in the Indo-Pacific region and consider steps to further strengthen bilateral maritime security cooperation,” the department said.
The maritime dialogue was set up by the late Manohar Parrikar when he was the Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and former Defence Secretary Ashton Carter to enhance strategic cooperation between the two countries. The first dialogue was held in India in 2016 as was the third.
(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)